Dealing With Loss

As I was writing this blog this week, our family and I had to say goodbye to my wife’s stepfather Donald, who had been battling cancer for the past year. Though we miss him we take comfort in the fact that before departing this life he gave his heart to Jesus. He now walks with the Lord in heaven upon the streets of gold, free from sorrow and pain and ever praising the One who gave His life for all of us. Jesus has overcome.

Yet, that does not mean those of us left here on earth do not feel sorrow and loss, but it is mixed with the joy found in our hope and faith in Jesus. The same faith that promises that we will see our friends and loved ones again one day.

Whatever trials you may be facing today, remember that this life will always be full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely to keep our heads above water. When this occurs, we will find the material things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat will not save us. So what can we do? Where can we go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you all.

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A Quick Thought…

Life is not fair. From birth we are not promised a comfortable and easy life. Along the way, we will face adversity. Some of it will be our own doing and some of it will be through no fault of our own. I’m everything, God promises to be with us but Ge doesn’t promise to take away every difficulty. The apostle Paul uses his own life as an example of this.

“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:8-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

How many times do we ask God to take away our problems? How many times has He answered with “no.” Paul asked for a burden to be lifted not once but three times, signifying his earnestness in seeking relief. Yet God still said “no,” not because He’s mean or wants to withhold deliverance from us for some vindictive purpose. God allows difficulty in our lives so that we can grow and mature; exposing our weakness and forcing us to rely on Him and His power. Paul was content to rely on God for strength to live with his difficulty and we must learn to do the same. Whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, or any other situation or hardship, we must remember to rely on God first and foremost. “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)When difficulty times come our way, the question we should ask is: what can I learn from this, not simply: when will this be over? Please be encouraged and remember that in every situation God is with us. In dark times and times of joy, He loves us and wants to see us grow and rely on Him.

Tempted to Surrender

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” -Harper Lee

Here are a few quotes to encourage you and help you persevere through the difficult times. Remember that great and admirable accomplishments were always achieved by taking one step at a time. Trust in God’s plan and He will see you through.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” -Helen Keller

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us… While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What, then, can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?” -C. S. Lewis

“Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there’s a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.” -Charles Stanley

Hope in the Midst of Despair

In life we will inevitably encounter seemingly impossible situations and circumstances. The paths we have chosen in life, however carefully, will at times lead us to confront insurmountable obstacles. These obstacles may take the form of people, events, places, or situations even when we think that we’ve plan for every contingency. When we inevitably fail to find solutions to our circumstances, our first instinct is to despair and seek someone to blame. We blame God, the people around us, even ourselves.

Billy Graham tells the story of a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island many years ago. Upon reaching safety, the man built a hut and filled it with all the supplies he’d managed to save from his boat before it was wrecked. He built a fire and each day he would watch and wait for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

Then one day while he was exploring the other side of the island, he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. With sudden realization and horror, the man ran as fast as he could back to the hut only to find it and all his supplies caught in a blaze of fire. He sank to his knees, realizing that everything he’d needed to survive had gone up in a pillar of black smoke.

He shook his fist skyward demanding to know why God had allowed this to happen. Then he lowered his head in dispair.

Several hours later as the man gazed out into the endless ocean, a small speck appeared on the horizon. The man watched elated as a ship grew closer and closer. He yelled greetings as a landing party arrived, took him onboard, and told him that they were plotting a different course but noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was then the man knew that God had sacrificed his meager possessions on the island for a much better future elsewhere.

This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat. We may not understand what God is doing, but we can keep our confidence in His plan for our lives.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

So where do you go to find peace and security in the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. In the midst of the storms of this life, I choose to place my hope in Jesus.

Hope in the Midst of Harvey

For the past three days I have watch, and experienced, the catastrophe known as “Harvey” as it unfolds in the Houston area and other areas of Texas and Louisiana. Fear, dread, hopelessness. These emotions wash over us here in Houston as we watch our city sinking beneath the floodwaters. I see on TV entire neighborhoods vanishing beneath the floodwaters; people in neighborhoods just down the road from our home needing to be rescued by boat. And the worst news of all comes as the meteorologists remind us that there’s more to come…

So, what do we do? Get mad? Shake our fists at heaven? Play the blame game? 

No. 


This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat (metaphorically and literally). When this occurs, we find the things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat fail miserably. So what can we do? Where do you go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. 

Please, in the midst of this crisis, keep your eyes on Jesus and He will see you through. 

Praying for all of us. 

A Quick Thought…

I was reading through the news feed this morning and saw the latest headlines of violence, mistrust, and hatred that permeate our world today. I don’t know about you, my fellow writers, but I want my writing to help end these problems and not just call attention to them. 

The world is full of problems. Hatred, bigotry, poverty, war, death…the list goes on and on. Countless individuals, whose intentions are not in question, have attempted to right one or more of these wrongs. Charities, government programs, education, emphasis on tolerance, and yet the world’s problems persist and even continue to get worse. 

The real issue is that each and every one of us has a heart problem.  We are selfish. We focus on our own wants and desires and forsake our faith in Jesus Christ. We value our own lives and pleasures over the lives and needs of others. James 4:1-3.

Consider the Ten Commandments. The first five deal with our relationship with God and the second five deal with our relationship with others. 

“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him [Jesus] a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:35-40‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Love God first with all your being and love others as you love yourself. If we obeyed these two statements, there would be not war, no greed, no selfishness, no hate. 

Our focus has shifted in this country from loving God and loving others to loving only ourselves. This selfishness has bred hatred of change, hatred toward any threat to our to possessions, hatred of anyone who doesn’t perfectly emulate our culture and traditions. 

God is not calling for us to be more tolerant. God is calling us to love Him and to love others. With love comes everything else. After all, Jesus loved us first and gave his life for us. 

“”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

You want true change to come to America? Start by changing your focus. Set your heart and focus on Jesus Christ, and then emulate His life by loving others more than yourself. 

Will You Believe?

I posted this nearly a year ago, but I was in church this past Sunday and heard a wonderful sermon regarding this passage. I felt the need to reshare this post.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house- for I have five brothers-in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'””‭‭(Luke‬ ‭16:27-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

This is a parable told by Jesus prior to His death. He was refuting the Pharisees who place more importance on strict adherence to rules and religiosity rather than faith in God and love toward others. The parable is about a rich man and a poor man and how their actions influence their eternal destination. One placed his faith in money and the other in God. I’ve read this passage many times, but this time I finally saw what Jesus was saying. The Pharisees were men who spent their lives studying the law written down by Moses and the writings of the prophets. Yet with all their knowledge of the scriptures,they could not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Even when He’d died and risen from the dead, the Pharisees refused to believe.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)


Today, people of the United States have access to the Bible (the law of Moses and the Prophets) in the palm of their hand (smartphones) or they can purchase one in any Barnes and Noble. Yet they ignore the truth and turn towards their own desires. The saddest part is that they won’t realize their mistake until it’s too late and they will have no excuse. 


“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

The scariest part of these passages still remains that last verse from Luke 16, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ Have you ignored the Bible or mocked the words of your Christian friends? Ask yourself a question: Wherever you are reading this blog, if Jesus Christ were to suddenly appeared to you right now, would you believe in Him? What would it take for you to accept Jesus?

A Christmas Carol, Another Look

“Oh!  captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!”  – The Ghost of Jacob Marley, A Christmas Carol

One of Dickens’ most beloved tales and a personal favorite of mine, A Christmas Carol, is a relatively simplistic allegory and seldom considered one of Dickens’ important literary contributions. The importance of the tale lies in the emotional depth, descriptive narration, and endearing characters. The novella was written in 1843 with the intention of drawing attention to the plight of England’s poor. In the tale, Dickens combines a description of hardships faced by the poor with a sentimental celebration of the Christmas season. The calloused character of the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge, transforms into a generous and joyous individual after his confrontation with three spirits of Christmas.

The true message of the entire work can be found in the above quote, that there will always be those who need our help and that regret cannot make up for missed opportunities to extend aid or comfort to our fellow man. Every year I read this, I try to think of ways I can extend my faith and hope to others.

Though this novella was published over 170 years ago, the question remains: how can we help those less fortunate this Christmas?

This year:


Please help me help others. 

Click Here to purchase from Amazon.

(Much of this post was taken from an article I wrote for Clio’s Eye back in 2009. You can find the full text there)

Bibliography:

Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography, 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 1988. p 1- 607.

Gullett, Ryan. “A Christmas Carol-A History in Film.” Clio’s Eye. December 1, 2009. Accessed November 5, 2015. (Read More Here)

A Quick Thought…

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Our dreams. Our plans. There’s an old joke that I will attempt to paraphrase: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Now I certainly don’t believe that God laughs at our plans, but I’m sure He chuckles at our arrogance. We think we can plan for the future; tie up every possible contingency in a beautiful bow and the sit back and wait our brilliant scheme come to fruition. 

How many times do we think that our plans and schedule are better than Almight God’s? Take an example from Scripture, Moses. This guy was an arrogant jerk in his youth, but God taught him humility and servanthood. 
Moses took it upon himself to free his people (a noble cause), but in the process he murdered someone. (Exodus 2:11-14) Then Moses expected to be applauded but instead was forced to flee into exile for forty years. During that time Moses’s prideful and arrogant ways were humbled and softened so that when the time was right God could use him in a mighty way to free the Hebrews. (Exodus 3:1-



It’s the same with us today. We tell God our plans and moan and groan when He tells us “no” or “not yet.” What we must remember is that God’s plan is perfect and He can turn what others meant for evil into good. He sees much further down the road than we could ever hope to see. Why don’t we give Him the driver’s seat. 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

They will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.

“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house- for I have five brothers-in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'””‭‭(Luke‬ ‭16:27-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

I was reading this passage last night and the last verse hit me like a train. ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ This is a parable told by Jesus prior to His death. He was refuting the Pharisees who place more importance on strict adherence to rules and religiosity rather than faith in God and love toward others. The parable is about a rich man and a poor man and how their actions influence their eternal destination. One placed his faith in money and the other in God. I’ve read this passage many times, but this time I finally saw what Jesus was saying. The Pharisees were men who spent their lives studying the law written down by Moses and the writings of the prophets. Yet with all their knowledge of the scriptures,they could not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Even when He’d died and risen from the dead, the Pharisees refused to believe.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)


Today, people of the United States have access to the Bible (the law of Moses and the Prophets) in the palm of their hand (smartphones) or they can purchase one in any Barnes and Noble. Yet they ignore the truth and turn towards their own desires. The saddest part is that they won’t realize their mistake until it’s too late and they will have no excuse. 


“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

The scariest part of these passages still remains that last verse from Luke 16, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ Have you ignored the Bible or mocked the words of your Christian friends? Ask yourself a question: Wherever you are reading this blog, if Jesus Christ were to suddenly appeared to you right now, would you believe in Him? What would it take for you to accept Jesus?